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The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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thodox Rome," and directed that prayers should
be offered up for him, " as the only christian ruler
upon earth."

Under these discouraging circumstances, the
prospect which the appearance of the false Deme-
trius most unexpectedly opened was doubly wel-
come.

Demetrius identified himself perhaps even more
with the rehgious than with the political interests of
Poland. A catholic confessor was the first person to
whom he discovered himself, and it w^as not till after
the Jesuit fathers had been sent to examine him,



CH. I. § III.] RUSSIA. 401

that the papal nuncio Rangone espoused his cause ;
at the same time declaring to him at their first in-
terview, that he had nothing to hope if he did not
renounce the schismatical and embrace the cathoUc
rehgion. To this Demetrius made but Uttle demur ;
indeed he had ah'eady promised to quit the Greek
church, and on the following Sunday he openly
avowed his conversion*. He was delighted that Si-
gismund immediately recognised his claims (which
he justly ascribed to the influence of the nuncio),
and promised to do all that lay in his power for the
spread and defence of the roman catholic faith f;
a promise of vast import. At that time his story
was not generally believed in Poland ; what then
was the general astonishment w4ien the miser-
able fugitive soon afterwards took possession of
the palace of the Czars ! The sudden death of his
predecessor, in which the common people beheld a
judgment of God, perhaps mainly contributed to
his success.

Demetrius now renewed his promises ; received
the nephew of the nuncio with every mark of ho-
nour and reverence ; and, as he was soon after
joined by his Polish consort, attended by a numer-

* Alessandro Cilli, Historia di Moscovia, p. 11. Cilli was
present at the act. In Karamsin, x. p. 109 of the translation,
there is a passage, which is not quite so much in accordance with
Cilli as it may seem. Karamsin did not understand Cilli. We
do not find in Cilli anything like the words which Karamsin has
put into the mouth of Demetrius.

t Cilli : " Con rinnovare insieme la promessa dell* augumento e
difesa per quanto havessero potuto le sue forze e nel suo imperio
e fuori di quelle della santa fede cattolica,"
VOL. II. 2 D



402 TROUBLES [book VII.

ous court, consisting not only of knights and ladies,
but of a still larger retinue of monks, — dominicans,
franciscans, and Jesuits*, — it appeared that he in-
tended promptly to perform them. But it was this
zeal for Catholicism which mainly caused his ruin ;
for while it secured him the support of the Poles,
it deprived him of the favour of the Russians. They
remarked that he did not bathe nor eat like them ;
that he did not reverence the saints ; he was a
heathen, and had placed an unbaptized heathen
wife upon the throne of Moscow ; it was impossible
that he should be the son of a czarf .

They had recognised him in consequence of a
groundless and inexplicable belief; this rapidly
gave place to another and a stronger, under the
influence of which they dethroned him.

Here, too, religion was the real and effective
agent : a power arose in Russia, as well as in Swe-
den, which from its very origin and nature was di-
rectly opposed to Catholicism.



§ 4. TROUBLES IN POLAND.

Abortive enterprises against a foreign enemy
have generally the effect of exciting internal com-
motions. An agitation now showed itself in Po-
land which made it doubtful whether the king
would be able to carry on the government in the

* CiUi, p. 66.

t Müller, Sammlung Russischer Gesch., v. 373, remarks that
letters from the pope were found upon him.



CH. I. § IV.] IN POLAND. 403

spirit in which he had commenced it. This move-
ment had its origin in the following causes.

King Sigismund w^as not careful to maintain a
good understanding with those through whose ex-
ertions he had ascended the throne. This party-
had elected him in opposition to the wishes of
Austria ; he, on the contrary, allied himself closely
with that power. He twice took a wife from the
line of Grätz, and at one time incurred the suspi-
cion of wishing to place that family on the throne.

The king's conduct had already disgusted his
chancellor Zamoysky ; but when Sigismund, in or-
der to render himself independent of his adherents
and defenders, promoted their enemies to the high-
est offices and received them into the senate*, his
disgust was changed into the deepest resentment.
For it was chiefly by means of the senate that
Sigismund sought to govern. He filled it with men
personally devoted to him, and at the same time
thoroughly catholic. The bishops, who were no-
minated by the king under the influence of the
nuncio, formed a strong and, by degrees, an omni-
potent party.

Hence arose a formidable twofold opposition,
directed both against the constitution and the reli-
gion of the Polish government.

* Cilli, Historia delle SoUevationi di Polonia, 1606—1608,
Pistoia 1627, — an author the more worthy of credit, as he was a
long time in the service of the king, — enlarges in the very be-
ginning upon the power possessed by Zamoysky : " Zamoschi si
voleva alquanto della regia autorita usurpare ;" but relates how
the king began to resist him, " essendo patrone S. M^ non solo
di conferire le dignitä del regno, ma anco le stesse entrate."

2 D 2



404 TROUBLES [book VII.

The provincial deputies formed a political body
opposed to the senate ; and as the latter took part
with the king, the former joined Zamoysky*, for
whom they entertained boundless veneration, and
who owed to their willing submission an authority
little less than royal. This was a position which
must have had peculiar charms for an ambitious
magnate ; and no sooner was it vacant by the death
of the high chancellor, than it was occupied by the
palatine of Cracow, Zebrzydowsky.

The protestants now joined this party. The
bishops were, in reality, the objects of their com-
mon hatred ; the former detested them on account
of their spiritual, the latter, on account of their
temporal influence. The protestants declared it
was monstrous, that in a commonwealth like that
of Poland, which rested upon free agreement, well-
earned rights should be incessantly infringed; that
men of low birth should be raised to the highest
dignities, and men of noble blood compelled to
obey them. This grievance was also alleged by
many catholics f.

There can be no doubt that religious animosities
gave a vehement impulse to the disturbances of
Poland.

After the grievances had been frequently brought
forward, the supplies refused, and the diet dissolved,

* Piaseclus ; " Zamoyscius cujus autoritate potissimura niteba-
tur ordo nunciorum." From this time the country deputies be-
gan to have greater influence : one party supported the other.

f Cilli : " Gli eretici, spalleggiati da cattivi cattolici, facevano
gran forza per ottenere la confederatione,"



CH. I. § IV.] IN POLAND. 405

— all without avail, — the malcontents adopted the
last resource ; they summoned the whole hody of
nobility to the Rocotz. The Rocotz was a legiti-
mate form of insurrection, according to which the
assembled nobility claimed a right of summoning
king and senate before their tribunal. In this as-
sembly the lutherans were greatly strengthened by
their union with the professors of the Greek faith.

Meantime the king had also his partisans. The
nuncio held the bishops together*; the bishops di-
rected the proceedings of the senate, and a league
was formed between these bodies for the defence of
the throne and the altar. This favourable moment
was adroitly seized to obliterate the old divisions
between the laity and the clergy. The king showed
inflexible firmness in the moment of danger ; trust-
ing, as he said, in his righteous cause, and in God.

And in fact he maintained his ascendency ; in
October 1606, he dissolved the Rocotz at the
time when a great number of the members were
absent : in July 1607, the parties came to a regu-
lar engagement ; uttering the cry of Jesu Maria,
the king's troops attacked the enemy and com-
pletely routed them. Zebrzydowsky kept the field
for a while, but in the year 1608, he was obliged to
submit, and a general amnesty was then proclaimed.

By these successes the government was enabled
to follow out the catholic course in which it had
embarked. Those who were not catholics remained
excluded from ofiice ; and we may judge of the ef-

* Cilli : "II nuntio Rangone con sua destrezza e diligenza
tenne e conserve in fede molti dei principali."



406 TROUBLES [book VII.

fects of this measure by the applause it constantly
drew from Rome*. "A protestant prince — a
prince who would have distributed high and ho-
nourable places among both parties equally — would
have filled the whole country with heresy ; for in
an age so selfish as this, private interests are too
strong for religious attachments ; but since the
king had displayed so much constancy, the nobles
had learned to obey his will."

The protestant service was also restricted in the
royal towns; *' the inhabitants were compelled,"
says a papal instruction, " to change their religion,
although not by open violence f."

The nuncio took care that the highest tribunals
should be filled with judges attached to the catho-
lic church, and that justice should be administered
in them in strict accordance with the precepts of
the holy canons. The question of mixed marriages
now acquired the highest importance. The su-
preme court of justice would recognise the validity

* Instruttione a V. S"* M''^ di Torres : " II re, benclie nato di
patre e fra popoli eretici, e tanto pio e tanto divoto e di santi
costumi guernito, che dentro a Roma non avrebbe potuto nascere
o allevarsene un migliore, imperocche havendo esso con la lon-
ghezza del regnare rautati i senator! eretici, die se tre ne togli
erano tutti, gli ha fatto divenire, levatine due o tre, tutti quanti
cattolici.'* Their principle was, " le cose spiritual! seguono il
corso delle temporali."

t Instruttione a M"" Lancelotti : " La conforti [the king] gran-
demente a vietare che nelle citta regie che da lei dipendono altro
esercitio di religione che il cattolico si comporti, ne permetta che
v' abbiano tempj ne sinagoge loro : jDoiche si vengono per tal
dolce modo senza violenza espressa a far convertire o a mutar
paese."



CH. I. § IV.] IN POLAND. 407

of none which were not performed in the presence
of a priest and several witnesses ; but the priests
refused to bestow the benediction upon mixed
marriages ; it was no wonder, therefore, that many
conformed to the cathoHc rehgion rather than sub-
ject their cliildren to all the disadvantages con-
sequent upon marriages of disputable validity.
Others were forced into conformity by finding that
church patronage in the hands of protestants was
subjected to legal dispute. A government pos-
sesses a thousand means of promoting the religion
which it favours ; and here all were applied, short
of direct compulsion : the work of conversion pro-
ceeded, with little noise or ostentation indeed, but
with unstayed progress.

Doubtless the zeal and ability with which the
nuncios administered the ecclesiastical affairs, had
a considerable share in producing this result. They
took care that the sees should be filled with men
well fitted for their high office ; they visited the
convents, and put an end to a practice which had
been introduced, of sending disobedient and refrac-
tory monks, whom their superiors or convents
wanted to be rid of, into Poland ; they also di-
rected their attention to the secular clergy, and en-
deavoured to introduce psalmody and schools into
the parishes. They insisted upon the establishment
of episcopal seminaries.

Their most efficient agents were the Jesuits,
whom we find actively employed in all the pro-
vinces; among the docile Livonians, — in Lithuania,
wdiere they had to contend with traces of the old



408 TROUBLES [book VII.

worship of the serpent, — and among the Greeks,
where the Jesuits were frequently the only catholic
priests : sometimes they had to administer baptism
to youths of eighteen ; sometimes they met with
aged men who had never received the Lord's Sup-
per; but it was chiefly in Poland proper " that,"
as one of the members exultingly says, " hundreds
of learned, orthodox, and devout men of the order
are employed in rooting out errors, and implanting
catholic piety by schools and associations, by
preaching and writing*."

In this, as in every other country, they awaken-
ed enthusiasm in their followers ; but here it was
most unfortunately united to the insolence of an
overbearing young nobility. Though the king
abstained from acts of violence, the pupils of the
Jesuits thought themselves authorized to commit
them. It was no unusual thing for them to cele-
brate Ascension-day by a general attack upon the
protestants, whose houses they broke into, plun-
dering and destroying, and whose persons were not
secure from outrage and danger if they were found
at home or met in the streets.

In 1606 the church, and in 1607 the church-
yard, of the lutherans in Cracow was attacked, and
the dead bodies dragged out of their graves : in
1611 the church of the protestants in Wilna was
destroyed, and their ministers ill-treated or mur-
dered : in 1615 a book was published in Posen,

* Argentus de rebus Societatis Jesu in regno Poloniiv, J615.
A work which might, however, have been rendered far more in-
structive.



CH. I. § IV.] IN POLAND. 409

setting forth that the lutherans had no right to Uve
in that town ; and the following year the Jesuits'
scholars utterly destroyed the Bohemian church,
leaving not one stone upon another, and burned
the lutheran church. Similar outrages were per-
jDetrated in various other places, and in some the
protestants were driven by incessant acts of violence,
to sell their churches. The Jesuits soon ceased to
confine their outrages to the towns ; the Cracow
students burned the protestant churches in the
neighbouring villages. In Podlachia an aged lu-
theran minister, of the name of Barkow, was walk-
ing before his carriage leaning upon his staff, when
a Polish nobleman who met him, ordered his coach-
man to drive directly over him ; before the old
man could get out of the road, the horses were
upon him, and he received injuries of which he
died*.

Nevertheless, protestantism could not be wholly
suppressed. The king was bound by a promise
which he had not power to retract. The nobles
were subject to no constraint, and did not all im-
mediately abjure their religion. Occasionally too,
amidst many adverse judgements, a favourable one
was obtained, and here and there a church was re-
stored to the protestants. In the cities of Polish
Prussia the protestants always formed the majority;
the Greek schismatics were still less to be gotten
rid of, and the union of 1595 excited hatred rather
than imitation. Thus the combined body of dissi-

* Wengerscii Slavonia Reformata, p. 224, 232, 236, 244, 247.



410 COUNTER-REFORMATION [bOOK VII.

dents, consisting of protestants and Greeks, still
formed a jiowerful party. Their demands came
with peculiar weight backed by the most indus-
trious and thriving cities, and by the most warlike
tribes, such as the Cossacks ; and their opposition
became more formidable from the growing effi-
ciency of the support afforded by their neighbours,
the Russians and Swedes, who had successfully re-
sisted every attempt to subdue them to Catholicism,



§ 5. PROGRESS OF THE COUNTER-REFORMATION
IN GERMANY.

Principles of a totally different nature and ten-
dency prevailed in Germany, where every prince
held it to be his unquestionable right to establish
in his dominions the religion to which he was him-
self attached ; and in consequence, the movement
in favour of Catholicism, the beginnings of which
we have already traced, continued its course with-
out much interference from imperial authority, and
without exciting much attention.

The ecclesiastical princes especially held it to be
their duty to lead back their subjects to the catho-
lic faith. Here again we find the pupils of the Je-
suits early and active in the field of proselytism.
John Adam von Bicken, elector of Mayence from
1601 to 1604, was a student of the Collegium
Germanicum in Rome. It is reported that on
hearing the lutheran congregation, in the castle of



CH. I. § v.] IN GERMANY. 411

Königstein, singing hymns at the funeral service of
their minister, he exclaimed, " Let them give their
synagogue decent burial ! " On the following Sun-
day a Jesuit ascended the pulpit, in which a lu-
theran preacher was never again beheld. The same
occurred elsewhere*. What Bicken left undone,
was zealously completed by his successor, John
Schweikard. He was a man attached in a remark-
able degree to the pleasures of the table, but en-
dowed with the character and the talents requisite
for the business of government. He succeeded in
carrying through the counter-reformation in every
part of his diocese, even in Eichsfeld. He sent a
commission to Heiligenstadt, which within two
years converted two hundred citizens, many of
whom had grown grey in the protestant faith.
Some few yet remained unshaken ; these he ex-
horted in person, ' ' as their father and their shep-
herd, from his inmost heart," to use his own
words, and his exhortations were successful. He
saw with extraordinary pleasure a city which had
been thoroughly protestant for forty years, re-
stored to the catholic church f.

The same course was followed by Ernest and
Ferdinand of Cologne, both of them Bavarian
princes, and by the elector Lothaire, of the house
of Metternich of Treves, — a prince distinguished by

* Serarius, Res Moguntinae, p. 973.

t Wolf, Geschichte von Heiligenstadt, p. 63. In the interval
between 1581 and 1601, the number of converts was reckoned
at 497 ; the greatest number in the year 1598, in which they
amounted to 73.



412 COUNTER-REFORMATION [bOOK VII.

the acuteness of his understanding, and by the talent
of overcoming whatever difficulties presented them-
selves; prompt in the execution of justice, vigilant
in pushing the interests of his country, as well as
those of his family ; and, where religion was not con-
cerned, aifable and indulgent. On that point he
was inexorable ; he would not tolerate a protestant
in his court*. To these great men Neithard von
Thiingen, bishop of Bamberg, associated himself.
When he took possession of his capital, he found
the whole council protestant, with the exception of
two of its members. He had already assisted in
the reforms of bishop Julius in Würzburg, and
he now determined to apply the measures of that
prelate to Bamberg. He immediately (at Christ-
mas, 1595,) promulgated his reformation-edict,
which ordained the celebration of the Lord's Sup-
per according to the catholic rite, on pain of exile;
and although the chapter, the nobility, and the gen-
try opposed him, although the most urgent repre-
sentations were made by the neighbouring princes,
we find that in every successive year the reforma-
tion-edicts were renewed and substantially exe-
cuted!. If we look to northern Germany, we find
that Theodore vonFürstenberg rivalled inPaderborn
the acts of bishop Neithard in Bamberg. In the year
1596, he imprisoned all the priests of his diocese
who administered the sacrament in both kinds ; this

* Masenius, Continuatio Broweri, p. 474.

f Jack, Geschichte von Bamberg, e. g. iii. 212, 199. Or ra-
ther I refer generally to this book, which is principally occupied
with the subject of the anti-reformation.



CH. I. ^ v.] IN GERMANY. 413

naturally produced dissensions between himself and
his nobility, and we accordingly find the bishop and
the nobles engaged in driving each other's cattle
and horses. He also eventually came to an open
rupture with the city ; where, unfortunately, a vio-
lent demagogue arose, who had not the character
or talents fitted for the high part which he had
undertaken. In the year 1604, Paderborn was
compelled to do homage anew. Immediately after,
the Jesuits' college was magnificently established
and endowed, and an edict appeared which, like
that of Bamberg, left no alternative but attendance
at mass, or exile. Catholicism thus gradually re-
gained absolute possession of Bamberg and Pader-
born*.

The rapid and yet lasting change which was
wrought in all these provinces, is one of the most
remarkable phenomena in history. Are we to in-
fer from it that protestantism had not struck deep
root among the people ? or are we to ascribe it to
the method pursued by the Jesuits ? It is at any
rate certain that the members of that order were
deficient neither in zeal nor in prudence. From
every point where they had obtained a firm footing,
we see the circles of their influence spreading wider
and wider. We see them skilled to captivate the
multitude, and drawing crowds to their churches.
We observe them always attacking the most pro-
minent and formidable difficulties ; w^herever there
is a lutheran confident in his biblical knowledge,

* Strunk, Annales Paderborn, lib, xxii. p. 720,



414 COUNTER-REFORMATION [bOOK VII.

to whose judgement the neighbours defer, we find
them leaving no means untried to win him over to
their side, and from their practised skill in contro-
versy, seldom failing of success. We see them em-
ployed in works of active beneficence, healing the
sick and reconciling enemies. Those whom they
subdued by their address or their services, they
bound to them by solemn oaths. We see bands of
the faithful marching under their banner to every
place of pilgrimage, and even men who had been
the most zealous protestants now joining in the
processions.

The Jesuits had educated not only spiritual, but
temporal princes ; among whom, at the close of the
16th century, their two most illustrious pupils,
Ferdinand II. and Maximilian I., appeared on the
stage of Europe.

It is said that when the young archduke Ferdi-
nand celebrated the festival of Easter in the year
1596, in his capital of Grätz, he was the only in-
dividual who received the sacrament according to
the catholic ritual; that there were indeed but
three catholics in the whole city*.

In fact, after the death of the archduke Charles,
and during the feeble minority of his successor,
the catholic cause had rather retrograded. The
protestants had regained possession of the churches
from which they had been ejected, and their schools

* Hansitz, Germania Sacra, ii. p. 712: "Numerus Lutheri
sectatorum tantus ut ex inquilinis Graecensibus pjene eunctis in-
venirentur avita? fidei cultores tres non amplius." The words
" psene eunctis " render the matter again doubtful.



CH.l. §V.] IN GERMANY. AUSTRIA. 415

at Grätz had been reinforced by new and eminent
professors. The nobiUty had elected a committee
from their own body, with the view of resisting
every attempt prejudicial to protestantism.

Nevertheless, Ferdinand, impelled by mixed mo-
tives, political and religious, immediately deter-
mined to proceed in the accomplishment of the
counter-reformation. He declared that he would
be master in his own country, as well as the elector
of Saxony or the Elector Palatine. When the dan-
gers which might arise from an inroad of the Turks
during civil discord were suggested to him, he re-
plied, " that he could not reckon upon God's
assistance till the conversion of the country was
effected." In the year 1597, Ferdinand proceeded
by way of Loreto to Rome, to throw himself at the
feet of pope Clement VIII. Having made a vow to
re-establish the catholic religion in his hereditary
dominions, even at the peril of his life, — a resolu-
tion in which the pope confirmed him, — he returned,
and began the work of proselytism. In September,
1598, he issued a decree commanding that all luthe-
ran preachers should leave Grätz within a fortnight *.
Grätz was the central point of the protestant
doctrine and interest. Nothing was left untried
to shake the determination of the arcliduke, — nei-
ther entreaties, nor warnings, nor even threats ;
but this young prince was, to use the expression of
an historian of Carniola, " as firm as marblef."

* Khevenhiller, Annales Ferdinandei, iv. 1718.
-f Valvassor, Ehre des Herzogthums Krain, part ii. book 7. p.
464, beyond all doubt the most important account of this oc-



41G COUNTER-REFORMATION [bOOK VII.

A similar edict was promulgated in Carniola in
October, and in Carinthia in December.



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